Prompt fourteen: Do you still feel pressure of conform? If no, what age did it stop?
I tried so hard to fit in and be like "everyone else" in middle and high school. Even when I entered college, I yearned to be like the majority because I knew I grew up in a very different environment than what I had witnessed among my peers.
As I continued through my undergraduate career, I started to pave my own path for who I was. I was definitely one of those students who really changed when they left for college. I was exposed to so many new ideas, people, and thoughts that it all had a profound effect on me. I'm grateful for my undergraduate years - even if I earned a degree that is pretty much useless - because I learned so much about myself and the person I wanted to become.
I graduated high school 10 years ago this year, and the person I thought I would be now is totally different than who I am now. In my senior yearbook, I was asked where I saw myself in 10 years. My answer? "A journalist for a newspaper or magazine and an author." I was intensely career-focused in high school and college. All I cared about was having my career.
But then I met my now-husband. We got married. Things were awesome.
And then we got burned big time in the Great Recession. We moved to a whole new state. My dad passed away. We had next to no income. Things got scary.
Priorities completely shifted. That career-focused mentally is still with me, but it's not the focus of my life. My family and faith are my priority, even when I feel like I'm struggling with both areas. I'm back in school to further my career, but I'm doing it not only for myself but to provide for my family.
I became this person that I never even imagined 10 years ago. I firmly believe that if I had kept the blinders on that I had when I first entered college, I wouldn't be where I'm at now. I would have continued to do what "everyone else" I grew up with did. I'm thankful I learned early on that you have to make your own way in life. While I never imagined that I would be where I'm at now, I don't want to think of my life as something different. I'll take the bumps and bruises I've been dealt if it means having the blessings I'm surrounded with.
So no, I no longer feel pressure to conform, because if I did, I don't think I'd recognize myself.